Commentary Search

There I was...: A real learning experience

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jaimie Miller
  • 6th Operations Squadron deputy airfield manager
There I was, on a plane to Southwest Asia for a six-month deployment. When it was over, it ended up being one of the most rewarding deployments thus far.

During my deployment I filled a functional manager position at Air Space & Air Field Operation Division. I maintained oversight for five airfields in the area of responsibility with approximately 60 military and civilian airfield management personnel. This was the first time I held such a position.

I learned so much, from reviewing Letters of Procedure to validating manning and going to multiple locations in Afghanistan to accomplish airfield assessments. I ensured safe conditions were met to accommodate the one million service members in combat operations.

Not only did I get to travel around Afghanistan on different airframes, but being able to see the operations first hand was eye opening and fulfilling. I had the opportunity to meet with fellow airfield management personnel who put their lives at risk every day. Being able to provide my airfield management expertise and help solve their problems made my deployment incredible.

The greatest opportunity was having the privilege of working alongside our British coalition partners. I was tasked to conduct an airfield survey in Afghanistan. This survey was needed to determine the airfield condition and support capabilities to accommodate Air Mobility Command aircraft. To see how the Royal Air Force worked and to build a rapport with them was extremely beneficial.

Along with the above highlights, I met some really outstanding folks. It was definitely networking at its best. Leaving was a bitter-sweet moment - saying goodbye to all my great co-workers and friends, while at the same time being happy to return to my family and coworkers here. I'm very thankful for the deployment experience and the expertise I obtained.

If there was anything I would pass on from this deployment it would be to go into a deployment with a positive attitude. The sky is your limit on the amount of knowledge and what you can get out of the deployment. Make every moment count.